Making "jerked" chicken, pork, goat and fish dates back to both Arawak natives and Jamaican slaves. It's a technique that imparts a spicy, smoked flavor that's uniquely Caribbean. Marinated with a salt-free sauce or rub of spices, herbs, chili peppers and lime juice, and grilled over hot coals, jerked chicken makes a great backyard or tailgate entree, especially when complemented with the flavor of grilled fresh pineapple. Grilling caramelizes the sugars in pineapple, intensifying its natural sweetness (no sugar added).
To complete your dinner, serve Jamaican rice and peas (kidney beans or pigeon peas) on the side.
2 (10- to 12-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
3 medium green onions, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped*
2 cloves garlic, minced
(3½-by-¾-inch) fresh pineapple slices**
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
Dash of hot pepper sauce
- To prepare the jerk sauce, combine the allspice, thyme, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar and lime juice, mixing with a wire whisk to blend well. Add the green onion, jalapeño pepper and garlic; mix well. Set aside.
- Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish. Brush the jerk sauce evenly over both sides of the chicken breasts. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or longer if possible.
- To cook the chicken, preheat the grill to a medium-high temperature. Remove the chicken from the marinade; discard the marinade. Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill, with the thicker portion facing the hotter part of the grill. Grill for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness; the internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F when cooked through. Allow the grilled chicken to rest for 5 minutes, covered, before serving.
- While the chicken is cooking, brush the pineapple slices lightly with 2 tablespoons oil. Place the pineapple on the grill; cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until heated through and lightly charred with grill marks. Remove from the grill.
- Combine the honey with hot pepper sauce in a small bowl; blend well. Drizzle over the pineapple.
- Serve the jerked chicken breasts with grilled pineapple slices.
*If you prefer more "spicy heat," as many Jamaicans do, mix another pepper into the sauce, or add a splash of hot pepper sauce.
**For convenience, buy fresh pineapple pre-sliced, rather than trimming, coring and peeling a fresh pineapple.
Calories: 420; Calories from fat: 160; Total fat: 18g; Saturated fat: 2g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 90mg; Sodium: 170mg; Total carbohydrate: 35g; Dietary fiber: 4g; Sugars: 25g; Protein: 32g